Jesus wrote his autobiography in two stories and in the connection between them. The connection is the bloody wounds we opened in his body with lash, thorns, nails and spear. The bloody wounds have two sides, a near side and a far side. The two stories unfolded on each of the two sides. The two stories are the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. His autobiography was not written in words but was done in deeds. In the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the bloody wounds that connect them, Jesus revealed the identity of God.
[Note: Worry less about our Catholic identity and more about the identity of God].
The Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the bloody wounds that connect them are essential to a perfect understanding of God. Leave one of the three elements of the autobiography out and your image of God will be distorted. The Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the bloody wounds that connect them provide us with a high fidelity representation of the nature of God. No representation made by human hands comes close to equal the fidelity of the representation of God given to us in his autobiography. All representations of God of lesser fidelity must, therefore, yield to the autobiography of God. In cases of conflict, go with the autobiography.
Let us review the autobiography.
When we look at the near side of his bloody wounds, we see the Crucifixion. In the Crucifixion, we see his ignominious defeat. The Crucifixion is the adversity into which we baptized him to test his genuineness (Matthew 4:7) (Luke 22:42). In the Crucifixion, we see that we tortured and killed him and that he suffered and died. We stuffed him into the black hole of death. Nobody and nothing escapes from the black hole of death.
His bloody wounds, however, are not solely the evidence of the evil we did to him. His bloody wounds are also a telescope. When we look through them, we catch a glimpse of paradise from here on earth.
When we look through his bloody wounds to their far side, we see the Resurrection. In the Resurrection, we see his glorious victory. In the Resurrection are the byproducts of the evil baptism into which we immersed him - the results of the test. We see the escape from the black hole of death. We see that he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. These two details of divinity emerged from the dead. The results of the test are the proof that God put into our hands to extinguish our doubts:
- That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is omnipotent. Nobody emerges from the black hole of death. He did.
- That he did not stop loving us is the proof that our conception of God as omnipotence is inaccurate. Another detail defines divinity besides omnipotence. Divinity is love.
The Crucifixion is an amplifier. The difficulty of the test magnifies the results. The Crucifixion highlights the two details of divinity that emerged from the black hole of death. Neither detail ought to have emerged. Yet, both did. This is a radically unexpected and surprising outcome. The evil we did to him ought to have, at the very least, pissed him off. It ought to have antagonized him. It ought to have earned us a place on his shit list. It ought to have provoked his natural instinct for justice. It ought to have triggered his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution (Romans 12:19). It ought to have transformed him into our enemy - into a misanthropic monster - into the God who hates us. It ought to have shifted God from the pro-human team to the anti-human team with the serpent and his minions. When the fuse is lit, the bomb ordinarily explodes. But, remarkably, it did not. The fuse worked but the bomb was a dud (Isaiah 55:8-9). We gave him good cause to repay us in kind, but he did not (Romans 12:19). The evil we did to him did not extinguish his love for us or reduce it by even the slightest degree. Inexplicably, he clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. If his love for us were counterfeit, it would have faded as we tortured him and would have died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. Its survival is the guarantee that his love for us is real. Despite the evil we did to him he continues to love us nonetheless. God let us get away with murder - with deicide. Such is the nature of God! We tried but failed to drain his heart of love for us. Wow! This is the good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed.
His omnipotence made paradise. However, his love for us makes paradise sweet. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise (and flee the sourness of godlessness). It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise.